Miami Hurricanes defensive scheme impresses 5-Star DT Maason Smith

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 11. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 11. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Five-star defensive tackle Maason Smith said in an interview with 247 Sports that the Miami Hurricanes defensive scheme is the one that fits him best among the college football programs he is considering.

A commitment from five-star defensive tackle Maason Smith would vault the Miami Hurricanes 2021 recruiting class from 12th in the rankings to ninth. In an interview with 247 Sports as transcribed by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Smith said that the Miami defensive scheme sits him best.

The potential to pair Smith with fellow five-star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor could provide the Miami Hurricanes with their most dominant defensive front since their championship era. Miami currently has a commitment from Taylor and five-star athlete James Williams, who will likely play striker or safety in college, for 2021.

Miami has not had three or even two five-star signees in the same class since 2008. Smith is considering Alabama, Georgia and his home-state program LSU for his college destination. Smith told Steve Wiltfong of 247 that the history of Blake Baker at Louisiana Tech is part of the reason he is considering Miami.

Smith also told Wiltfong he expects to wait until December 16, early National Signing Day, before he makes a commitment to a college football program. LSU is the prohibitive favorite to sign Smith. All seven experts for 247, including Wiltfong, project Smith to sign with LSU.

"“Honestly I think it’s going to come down to the last day…I think that’s going to get stuff rolling over there. With Miami, I talk to coach [defensive line coach Todd] Stroud, [defensive coordinator Blake] Baker…coach [Manny] Diaz all the time.Coach Baker is from Louisiana and was a coach at Louisiana Tech for some time so he knows where I’m from and everything about me. It’s good to have someone there that knows stuff about you and where you’re from and they can relate to you because that’s a long way from home.Plus about them, their defensive scheme, they let their defensive front attack the quarterback and get after it and that’s my style of ball. The scheme over there fits me best out of any scheme and I like that about them.”"

Miami has played one of the most aggressive schemes since Manny Diaz was the defensive coordinator from 2016-18 and since being elevated to head coach for the 2019 season. The Hurricanes have been among the national leaders in tackles for loss and sacks over the last five seasons.

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Diaz has developed defensive linemen. Gerald Willis was a second-team All-American at DT in 2018 and R.J. McIntosh and Kendrick Norton were selected in the 2018 NFL Draft. The best players like to team with other elite players. With Taylor and Williams on the roster, Miami still has a long-shot chance to sign Smith.